Gender in Comics: Is There a Double Standard?

Posted February 1, 2015 in
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Gender in Comics
Blake Leszczynski weighs in on the Gender in Comics panel.

Maybe panels are just not my thing. Of course, over the course of the day, I think I attended the panels with the—I don’t know the word—deepest, most culturally important subjects, but Jesus fucking Christ, the depth and discussion of these things haven’t begun to approach the depth of the issues. I’m afraid this one was no different.

FanX’s token Gender in Comics panel was marred with rehashed, tired arguments about how much clothes women in comic books should wear. On top of that, these two women on the front row completely hijacked the whole first half of the panel—what a train wreck. Unlike the other two panels I covered Saturday, I don’t completely blame the panelists because of this.

Despite all of this, there were some moments of something that resembled depth, specifically JM Bell talking about the wider issue of the disposition toward gender and sex around the world. “This really is just a first world problem, I mean, let’s be honest, this is just comic books,” said Bell. “Maybe we should put our energy into dealing with real [gender/sex] issues.” Bell was responding to a question about how gender and, more specifically, rape are treated in Africa vs here in the States. No doubt, it was not quite on topic, but Bell’s comment basically should wrap up this entire discussion. This is art, drawn by artists; if you aren’t a fan of it, stop fucking consuming it.

The ten minutes, or so, started to feel a little bit focused, as the conversation began to be framed in more of a discussion on context. “Take strippers, for example,” said Danielle UberAlles, “I know strippers that say what they do is empowering, while other people say it’s demeaning to women.” Overall, this probably was, at least, the most on topic panel that I attended – but I just think the whole format rubs me the wrong way.